In 2018, over 33,000 people died in car crashes in the US. California, Texas, and Georgia top the list of states with the most fatalities. If your family has experienced a death following a collision, you may want to hire an attorney, particularly if there was negligence involved.
If you find yourself in the unimaginable position of dealing with this situation, we are here to help. Keep reading for 8 things to do to handle the death of a loved one following a car collision.
1. Seek Medical Attention if You Were Involved
If you were involved in the accident, seek medical attention immediately, particularly if your injury was serious. While it might be tempting to decline medical care, especially if you think you feel fine, you should still get checked out.
You may have internal injuries or bleeding that you aren’t aware of. Your adrenaline might be surging and this reduces your body’s ability to feel pain, so while you might be injured, the adrenaline that results after an event like a collision might be
2. Take Photos
If you were not injured and are still at the scene of the accident, take photos of both cars, the scene, and anything surrounding the accident scene that you may think is relevant. The police will also take photos, but it’s important that you have your own as well.
3. Get Contact Information from Witnesses
If there were any witnesses to the accident, including those in the other vehicle or vehicles, get their contact information. If you end up filing a lawsuit, your attorney will want to speak with them.
Like the photos, the police will most likely gather this information and include it in the police report, but in the event they don’t, you’ll have this information available for your attorney and insurance company.
4. Ensure that a Police Report is Filed
A police report must be filed both for your insurance company and if you decide to file a lawsuit later. The police report should include details of the accident, photos, information about the weather and other conditions, contact information for the witnesses, insurance information for any other drivers involved, and details about who was at fault.
Once this is completed, which may take a day or two, you’ll want to get a copy of this so you can provide it to your insurance company and to an attorney, if you hire one. Keep a copy of the accident report for your own files as well.
5. Make Sure Evidence is Preserved
Any information you gather from the accident is considered evidence, including photos, witness statements and contact information, the police report, and medical records. Keep copies of everything pertaining to the accident; you can never have too much documentation.
Before the cars are removed from the scene, make sure the police complete their investigation and gather all of the necessary information for their police report so you can ensure that you get the maximum compensation that you may be entitled to.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you were driving, your insurance company will need to be contacted so you can start the claim process. If you were not driving, but your loved one who was killed in the accident was, you will need to contact their insurance company.
Insurance companies will want information about the accident, the others involved, as well as the police report. This will help them determine who was at fault. If the other driver or drivers were at fault, insurance companies will typically go after their insurance companies to pay the bills associated with the collision.
If your insurance company offers you a settlement, do not accept it before speaking with an attorney. Insurance companies are concerned with their bottom line, so it is in their best interest to settle with you or your family for as little as possible.
7. Speak With an Attorney
Contact an attorney who specializes in car accident injuries or deaths as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you whether they think you have a case and they can guide you through the process. They will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and take the case to trial if need be.
Before selecting an attorney, make sure they are experienced with car accidents and wrongful death suits. Ask questions and do some research before selecting an attorney.
8. Consider a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If others are responsible for the death of your loved one, you may consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. There are some requirements, however, that determine who is eligible to file this type of suit.
First, you must have the right to recover. Those who have the right to recover include spouses, children, parents, siblings or other individuals who are financially dependent on the person who has died. There may be a state statute specifying who can file a wrongful death suit in your state.
You will also have to show negligence and then document the damages suffered as the result of the accident. Damages could include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, the loss of future income from the defendant, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering.
spouses, children, parents, siblings or other individuals who are financially dependent on the decedent.
How to Handle a Death Following a Collision: Stay Strong
If you find yourself in the terrible situation of having to handle a death following a collision, of either a family member or close friend, it will undoubtedly be a difficult time in your life. Stay strong to get justice for your family member or friend.
Difficult as it may be, try to use this list to help ensure that you can hold those who are at fault responsible for the death. Sweet Law can assist you in your case, as we specialize in both car accidents as well as wrongful death cases. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.